The Catholic Monarchs

   1. The Modern Age

   Some historians place the year 1453 at the beginning of the modern age because on this year the city of Constantinople fell and put an end to the Byzantine Empire. Others set the start of modern age in 1492, due to two major events: the discovery of America and the conquest of the kingdom of Granada, which ended the Reconquista. Between the two dates the second is generally preferred: 1492.

   A key feature of the Middle Ages is the formation of large nationalities. Kings heavily establish their authority and subject the nobles and the feudal hierarchy. The main countries of the period were:

   - In FRANCE, kings Louis XI, Charles VIII and Louis XII were the ones that unified the French monarchy.

   - In ENGLAND, King Henry VII Tudor was able to master the weakened feudal nobility, created the Privy Council to advise him and the Star Chamber to try those who would oppose the king.

   - - In the GERMAN EMPIRE, Maximilian I created the Imperial House to judge disputes between nobles. He was an ally of Spain, and married his son Philip “the Handsome” with Juana “the Mad”. After his death the empire was passed on to his grandson Charles V, son of Philip and Juana.

   - - In ITALY, there was not a strong feudal monarchy, but instead there was the division of the Duchy of Savoy in the North, the Lordship of Florence in the center and the Kingdom of Naples in the south, belonging to the kings of Aragon.

   - In SPAIN, the monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella was consolidated.

   2. Indicate to which country these statements refer to: France, England, the German Empire or Italy.

Henry VII Tudor

Louis XI and Charles VIII

There was not a strong monarchy

Maximilian created the Imperial House

He created the Star Chamber

He allied with Spain

The Kingdom of Naples was of Aragon

Louis XII unified the monarchy

    3. The Catholic Kings

   It is represented by the marriage of Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.

   - ISABEL was of medium height and quite good looking, but stood out due to her virtues; she was strong, brave, kind and generous.

   - FERDINAND was a great politician. He rode on horseback with great skill and in his youth he participated in various battles, so his character was smart and thoughtful.

   - The CONCORD OF SEGOVIA. Ferdinand aspired to reign in Castile. However, Isabel opposed to this and in the meeting called Concord of Segovia they agreed that both would govern together under the motto "Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando", in other words, Isabel and Ferdinand amount to the same, or, equal opposites in balance.

   4. Indicate whether the statements refer to: Isabel, Ferdinand, or the Concord of Segovia.

He was a great politician

She was noted for her virtues

An agreement to govern together

She was kind and brave

He was cunning and thoughtful

Ferdinand wanted to rule Castile

She was of medium height

He rode on horseback with skill

Both where equal

    5. The Wars of Granada

   Since the death of Ferdinand III “the Saint”, the kingdom of Granada was the only Muslim kingdom in Spain, but the Catholic Monarchs wanted to achieve unity of the Iberian Peninsula and re-launched the conquest of this city.

   But the kingdom of Granada was powerful and received help from the Moors of Africa. Moreover, the terrain was very hilly and Grenadians could attack without being seen. Boabdil had rebelled against his father Muley Abul Hassan and this internal division favored the Catholic Monarchs. Muley Abul Hassan refused to pay the tribute to Castille that the kings of Granada would pay, so Isabel and Ferdinand, after winning several major cities, besieged the city of Granada. After eight months, on 2 January 1492, Boabdil handed the keys of the city to the Catholic Monarchs. (Refer to the image).

   The conquering of Granada was a great joy to all of Christianity. It was one of the most beautiful and populous cities of Europe and its besiege meant the end of the Reconquista, that is, the eight centuries of struggle that was initiated by Rodrigo against Islam.

   6. Answer if this is true or false:

Boabdil was the father of Muley Abul Hassan

Fernando III had died

Granada received help from Africa

There were several Taifa kingdoms

Boabdil refused to pay tributes

The siege lasted eight months

It fell on 2 January 1492

The fall meant sadness

    7. The events of the Catholic Kings

   Other events included the following three:

   - THE INQUISITION. Some Jews and Muslims converted to Catholicism, but these conversions were not always sincere. To monitor heretics the Catholic Monarchs in 1478, he made Pope Sixtus II adopt a Bull authorizing the beginning of the Inquisition, which was responsible for the persecution of heretics. But the methods of the Inquisition were no crueler than what was done to heretics in other countries. In England, those convicted of treason were burned alive, and in Germany, 20,000 women were burned throughout an entire century.

   - THE HOLY BROTHERHOOD. Some nobles, who converted to bandit leaders, committed outrages, robberies and murders. The kings demolished the feudal castles and limited authority of life and death over their subjects. They created the Holy Brotherhood, which was a sort of police to chase thieves and fight the nobles who refused to obey the king.

   - THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS. To consolidate one united Church, the kings expelled the Jews, who were hated by most Christians. However, this caused serious damage to the economy since they were a population of the working class.

   8. Indicate whether these statements refer to: the Inquisition, the Holy Brotherhood or the expulsion of the Jews.

Nobles turned into bandits

They wanted one united Church

Sixtus II granted a Bull

Chasing thieves

They were a working population

They subjected the disobedient nobles

Some Jews were heretics

They were hated by the Christians

Other countries were crueler

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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